I've always said that we should aim to get to patients as quickly as possible. But sometimes, just sometimes, I wish I could make them wait.
Here's an example of a call that tends towards waiting a long time for an ambulance and really shouldn't – Doris falls over in a shop and breaks her hip. All she knows is that it hurts and she can't get up. The shop staff call an ambulance and the call is given the lowest priority.
Doris waits two hours on the shop floor until I turn up in my truck to look after her. I hate this – Doris should be seen *much* quicker. I'm guessing that it also frustrates those up in Control who are forced to follow daft computer scripts.
So why is Doris waiting – well, not enough ambulances and too many calls that don't require an ambulance. I've banged on about this enough.
We are driving back from dropping a patient off at hospital and we get an emergency call to “Male, 25, headache for an hour”. The priority of this call? One step down from a child having a fit, or a person who has stopped breathing.
The patient is only around the corner (and only 800 yards from the hospital), so we are there in seconds. Sure enough, the patient has a headache, but hasn't taken any painkillers for it. That's it. A simple headache.
The patient wants to go to hospital so, like trained monkeys, we take him to hospital.
Part of me wishes that he had been kept waiting, he's now going to expect rapid treatment like this should he, I don't know, scratch his face, suffer a papercut, or sneeze unexpectedly. Maybe he'll complain if he's kept waiting for an ambulance next time.
Meanwhile Doris is still on the floor.